Contador says a power meter ban could level the field

Retired Spaniard believes Froome will give all to win a fifth Tour de France

Alberto Contador was the last rider to dominate the Tour de France for multiple years before being disqualified for testing positive for clenbuterol in the 2010 edition. When he returned from his ban in 2013, the landscape had changed. Team Sky, with its big budget, marginal gains, and Chris Froome - eyes fixed regularly on the numbers on his power meter - had become an unassailable force. Contador believes UCI President David Lappartient's proposal to ban power meters in competition could help loosen Sky's grasp on the Grand Tours.

In an interview with the AS, Contador explained, "I think we are looking for ways to bring back cycling with attacks, courage ... Power meters are a fundamental piece of equipment to improve your level and are very necessary for training. It's another thing in the races because I think you could do without them."

A ban, he said, "would be good for the show, it would sharpen the cyclist's instinct".

"It can be hard to understand because you do not know how high a level of control there is. It limits the show a lot.

"Beating Sky is possible, but it is difficult. The power meter ban could even things out. They are also the team with the highest budget... But it's also true that they work together very well."

Since 2012, there has been only one season Team Sky went without a Grand Tour victory - in 2014 when Froome crashed out of the Tour de France. Since then, the team has won half of all Grand Tours - four in a row culminating with Geraint Thomas' Tour de France win this season.

With Thomas and Froome now positioned to battle each other for the 2019 Tour de France, Contador is sure that Froome will give his all for a fifth Tour title.

"This year they have done well together, we will have to see, now that Thomas has already won the Tour, if their objectives are compatible. I am convinced that Froome will give it his all for a fifth Tour, and we will see if that is compatible with Thomas' ambitions."

Spanish fans have had plenty to be excited about since Contador's retirement last season. This year saw the emergence of Vuelta a Espana runner-up Enric Mas and Paris-Nice winner Marc Soler as genuine Grand Tour contenders for the future.

But don't call them the next Contador or Miguel Indurain, Contador says.

"If they get that much attention, it is because they are riders with tremendous potential," Contador said. "But beyond what the fans say, they clearly have this quality and they have to show year after year that they are not the new Contador, etc ... they must be Enric Mas and Marc Soler, two riders who you have to enjoy, they have a great future, but you will only see how far they go with time. Of course, they have given plenty of reasons for the Spanish fans to be excited."

Since his retirement Contador has remained close to the sport, acting as a commentator for Eurosport and as an ambassador for the Tour de France. He still rides regularly and has kept up his fitness, but has no regrets on leaving the sport at an age two years younger than compatriot Alejandro Valverde, who just won the Worlds at 38.

"I value everything I achieved, more so now than when I was racing. Now you think about all the victories and, analyzing it from the outside, you realize how difficult it was.

"It no longer makes sense to have regrets and wonder what would have happened if I had tried other goals, if I had retired later. The whole time I was a professional I was 100 per cent. I lived by and for the bike. Now I enjoy very simple things."
 

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