Jim Ochowicz says Lance Armstrong ‘earned every victory he’s had’

"You know, it’s a tough day for cycling but we’re going to carry on from here," says Armstrong's longtime friend

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado (VN) — The Ghost of Lance Armstrong blew through the team buses yet again Friday in Colorado, and longtime Armstrong friend and supporter Jim Ochowicz was one of the few to come out and address the situation.

Ochowicz credited Armstrong with building the sport and said the Texan worked for his pile of wins.

“I think Lance, as I said, did a lot for the sport. We’re all grateful to him for what he’s done. I think he’s earned every victory he’s had. You know, it’s a tough day for cycling but we’re going to carry on from here,” Ochowicz said on Friday morning in Colorado.

“I’m a friend of Lance’s. I support his decision to call it. He’s done so much for our sport over the years. I’m sad about what’s transpired but at the same time, I wish him luck with his family. I love them, I love him.”

Ochowicz is the manager of BMC Racing, which is at the USA Pro Challenge this week in Colorado, and has the race leader in Tejay van Garderen. Ochowicz was Armstrong’s first professional director at the Motorola team, for which Armstrong rode during 1992-96. Ochowicz was also the president of the USA Cycling board of directors during 2002-06.

Armstrong announced on Thursday evening that he would no longer fight the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his unprecedented string of seven Tour de France victories. USADA has stripped the Texan of his titles, and he is also banned for life from the sport.

Ochowicz noted that Armstrong has a huge fight looming, and it’s not with USADA.

“He’s got a big fight ahead of him. His battle trying to find a cure for cancer and help survivors and carry on with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And I wish him the best in all those endeavors,” Ochowicz said.