“They take away a lot of spectacle and make you race more cautiously,” Quintana told Cyclingnews on the rest day. “I’d be the first in line to say they should be banned.”
The comments have been interpreted as an indirect attack on Chris Froome, whose riding heavily relies on the use of power meters. It is a common sight to see the British rider looking down at his power meter during a climb and many believe that it was what is behind his yo-yo efforts in the past.
“I think they’re really useful for training, but they take out a lot of drama from the sport,” added Quintana's team-mate Valverde. “In competition you should be racing on feelings.”
The Movistar duo are backed up by comments that Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has made in the past with the 2014 Tour de France champion lamenting the use of power meters and the ride-by-the-numbers of the strategy.
"Power meters help you understand how you feel and show your limits but in certain moments we've seen how Sky control their effort. Without power meters that wouldn't be possible."
As Froome told reporters on Monday and repeated at his own Tuesday press conference, however, his climbing strategy of riding at his own pace at Lagos de Covadonga had been based mainly if not entirely on his sensations, rather than on data from his power meter.
“I was riding more by feeling today,” said Froome. “I was just riding with what I felt I could do on the climb in the most efficient way to get up there and not to lose even more time.”
“The power meter’s there and I’m aware of the numbers I’m doing, but at the end of the day it is more on feeling and I’ve got to judge that.”
Quintana has said that he will need to continue to take time on Froome, even up to three minutes to feel safe in the flat 37 kilometre Stage 19 time trial, although he was cautious when it was put to him that he could improve in the third week of the Spanish Grand Tour, as he has done previously in other big stage races.
“Normally that’s true,” Quintana said, “but at this point in the season, it’s late, we’ve got a lot of kilometres in our legs, and I have no real idea how I will go in the third week. All I know is I have to make the most of my good moment.
“For example tomorrow’s stage that finishes the Peña Cabarga, there may not be very big time gaps, although if I’m feeling good, I could maybe get some time.”
As for Froome, who the diminutive Colombian sees as his main rival for the top step of the podium in Madrid, Quintana was complimentary.
“His form is good, he’s racing in his own way, and he’s going very steadily and then getting better and better on the climbs. So I have to keep a very close eye on what he does.”
Movistar team director Eusebio Unzue didn't want to count Alberto Contador at this stage either, despite the Spaniard's difficulties to date.
“Contador is never predictable and he never gives up. I have no doubt that before this race is over, he’ll have turned in one of his trademark performances.”