Tour boss Christian Prudhomme floated the idea during Thursday’s Tour presentation. Valverde, speaking to reporters at a team camp in Spain, said racing without power meters could open up the grand tours.
“I’d like to see teams race without power meters and race a bit more on sensations,” Valverde said. “Maybe the results would be the same, but it’s not a bad initiative to see what would happen.”
Valverde, 38, said power meters don’t make such a big difference during the one-day races or even prove decisive when it comes to who wins a particular race or a stage. The reigning world champion thought that, if they were eliminated, the biggest impact would be when it comes to controlling the race and setting a high tempo.
“Team Sky is expert when comes to racing with power and speed. It’s a big factor for them,” he said. “You’d notice it more in the moment of controlling the race. They’re there [at the front] because they have the fitness, but if you take them away [power meters], maybe the outcome would be different. It’s worth trying out.”
Valverde agreed that earpieces should remain in the peloton, above all for safety reasons. The Movistar captain said he’d like to see riders race more with feeling and instinct rather than setting their tactics off their power numbers.
“Younger riders are more accustomed to race and train with power meters,” he said. “The riders who win might not change, but I think it would be an interesting experiment to see what would happen.”
Quintana agreed, but admitted he leans heavily on his power meter both during training and racing.
“When you attack, everyone looks at their power meter and immediately knows what will happen,” Quintana said. “Of course they mark your style of racing.”
Quintana said the power meters “help you estimate your efforts” and provide key imput during training.
“If they ban them, I don’t know how much it would affect me,” he said. “But I would like it that they would ban them. It would add an element of unknown into the race.”
Neither Valverde nor Quintana have determined their calendars. The Colombian did say the Tour would be the center of his season while Valverde said he will race the Tour of Flanders for the first time in the rainbow jersey this season.
“I am realistic and I know a race like Flanders you cannot win without really knowing that race,” he said. “I’m looking forward to wearing the rainbow jersey in every race I go to.”
And Paris-Roubaix? “No way,” he said. “Maybe if I gain six or seven kilos.”