Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana give their take on the power meter debate as opinion is split in the professional peloton whether they should be used during races
Chris Froome‘s measured ride up Lagos de Covadonga on Monday to claw back his Vuelta a España rivals made some question the use of power meters in races. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) say they should be banned, but others disagree.
Contador and Quintana rode away at nine kilometres remaining in the stage, but Sky’s captain said that he was just riding his own pace. His pacing, whether looking at his power meter or not, worked. He clawed back everyone but Quintana.
“I believe the power meters block the show in the races,” Contador explained on the rest day on Tuesday. “Now, it’s very much controlled. If you have a powerful team and a rider attacks, you can control him.”
“They take away a lot of show and make you race more cautiously,” added Quintana. “I’d be the first in line to say they should be banned.”
Quintana won the stage and took the red leader’s jersey. He leads Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde by 57 seconds and Froome by 58. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) sits at 2-54.
Froome defended himself and said that he would not be drawn into following early attacks if he is not ready.
“Yeah the power meter’s there and I’m aware of the numbers I’m doing, but [my ride] is more on feeling,” he explained.
“It’s the worst feeling in cycling, other than crashing, if you start a climb too fast and you’re in the red. Like I did a few days ago. It is easy to get lured into the red early on, so basically taking a step back and gauging it a little better earlier has definitely served me well.”
Pioneer, SRM and may other companies produce the meters and nearly every cyclist in the Vuelta a España could be seen with one mounted on his bike when the race began this morning in Colunga.
“Why should cycling sit still why the rest of the world continues to go forward and use technology?” Dutchman Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) said.
“We should look at allowing new technologies like the in-race camera videos. It makes cycling that much more entertaining to watch. In the past we talked about how there’s a big crash or something, and now, there is a video almost immediately of everything.”
“If that’s what the UCI wants to do then they should ban over-socks on the track and ban race radios and heart rate monitors,” one of Contador’s sports directors at Tinkoff, Sean Yates said.
“The riders ride like that and teams ride like they do because that’s the best way to ride a bike race. Banning the power meters is unlikely to change much.”
Froome rode to the start line in the white combination classification jersey this morning. Sky Sports Director Dario Cioni adjusted the TV and other devices in his Ford team car.
“Riders ride on feeling more the numbers,” Cioni said. “Even Chris, his way of riding is always different. And he wasn’t looking at the power meter when he attacked on the descent or in the cross-winds in the Tour. Chris has shown that he can take the moment in the Tour. Here he is just racing a bit more conservatively.
“Perhaps there’s just a lot of smoke without much fire. You can take them away but it’s not going to change anything.”