Team Sky should have waited when Alejandro Valverde crashed on the fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana, said Jan Ullrich. The German Tour de France winner said that he could well understand Valverde's anger at the incident.
It is a situation with which Ullrich has much experience. Both he and Lance Armstrong waited on several occasions when the other crashed. Perhaps the most famous incident was in the 2003 Tour when Armstrong crashed on the Luz Ardiden, when Ullrich was in the lead on the stage. He slowed down and waited for the American, who then passed him and went on to win the stage.
Looking at the Vuelta incident, “in that kind of situation, you shouldn't keep going – especially when it has happened to the overall leader,” he wrote on his de.eurosport.yahoo.com blog. “It is to bad for Valverde – and I understand his anger.”
“Sky had set up the echelon action well, and the attack had been started, when Valverde crashed. But I would have expected that after a few kilometers the command to wait would come across on the radio,” he wrote.
Ullrich doubted that it was a “pointed attack” against Valverde and his Movistar team, “But I don't think it had anything to do with antipathy. Valverde is actually well-liked in the field, and it was only a few teams which rode. Most of them were actually fair.”
"It is hard to judge the matter when one was not present," he said. “Personally, I would have slowed, since it was a situation which wouldn't really have helped me –I want to measure myself against my opponents and not profit from their bad luck.”