cheater shot in the arm / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The recent revelation that at least 3 Tour de France cyclists tested positive for a new kind of blood enhancer threatens to further harm the sport. Stefan Schumacher, who won both time trials during this year's tour, was one of the riders. The others were Richardo Ricco, who won 2 stages, and Leonardo Piepoli, who won one. That's 5 of 21 stages that were won by blood-doping riders and that makes the sport look stupid.

The riders tested positive for a new generation of drugs that are typically given to people with chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease (and many cancer treatments) often inhibits the body's ability to produce red bloods cells. The pharmaceutical company Roche developed a drug, Mircera®, that works by activating a bone marrow receptor which then triggers the production of new red blood cells. More red blood cells in the body means more oxygen - a great benefit to dialysis patients and competitive cyclists alike.

In an even weirder twist to the story, one that wasn't reported in the sports journals, is that Roche is being sued by another pharmaceutical maker, Amgen, for patent infringement. So the cheaters have been using a drug that was obtained by cheating!

Fans and sponsors are getting sick of all the doping scandals and here's a crazy twist to next year's Le Tour. Corporate sponsors have been dropping right and left. New teams to the table, such as Garmin/Chilpolte and Team Columbia, are stepping up only after branding themselves as cleaner than clean, meaning they use even more advanced techniques to test riders than the World Anti-Doping Authority. Riders also have to sign contracts that allow the sponsors to sue them for back-wages and fraud should the riders ever test positive for banned substances.

Just as the sport seems in danger of imploding, Lance Armstrong (long accused, but never proven, of being dirty) comes out of retirement to save the day, bring back the fans, and restore the integrity to the sport. As part of his comeback, Armstrong will be subjecting himself to rigorous testing to prove to the world just how 'clean' he is. If he wins, he'll be able to hold himself up as the very model of the clean cyclist.