Alberto Contador, one year on from retirement, believes cycling would be a better show without power meters in the races.
The Spaniard retired after the 2017 Vuelta a España won by Chris Froome. His palmarès includes seven Grand Tour titles.
Now, and when racing, he called for cycling to ban power meters in competitions.
“I think you are looking for solutions to regain the attacks and courage [to attack],” Contador told Spain’s AS when asked about a ban. “It’s a fundamental piece of equipment to improve your level and training, it’s necessary.
“It’s another thing in the races because I think you could do without them. It would be good for the show, it would sharpen the riders’ instincts. You do not know how much control there is. They limit the show a lot.”
The governing body experimented with a block on two-way radios used between team-mates and directors in past years. A similar trial could take place, and is needed according to Contador.
Many point to Team Sky. Contador and others suffered under the team’s reign in the past decade, with British team controlling races with strength and smarts. Critics say they ride a tempo based on the power and watts of their rivals’ attacks that reels in any threats and thwarts any others.
“Defeating the Sky is possible, but it is difficult. The power meter changes things,” Contador said. “They are also the team with the most budget… But it is also true that they work very well.”
Froome in the past defended himself against critics who said that he rides to the numbers. He explained that he is “aware of the numbers” but rides “more on feeling.”
An example could have been his attack solo with 80.3 kilometres remaining on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia in May. With his move over the Colle delle Finestre, he clawed back time and moved into the race lead for the eventual overall win two days later.
The UCI governing body is researching ways to make cycling more of a “show” for its roadside and television fans. Already ahead of the 2018 season, they cut the team roster size for races.
“We are doing research because there are many aspects,” UCI President David Lappartient said in August. “Should we ban the ears and the wattage meters for more initiative? Should we reconsider the number of stages? We have to analyse everything.”