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Slipping gears

I operate under the notion that everyone should be taken seriously until the moment when they say or do thing(s) that make them incredible.

So far, my list of people that I no longer take seriously includes former Chicago Bull forward Dennis Rodman, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell among many others. With the news that Michael Rasmussen has been kicked out of the Tour de France, I've moved cycling onto the list of things that I no longer take seriously.

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Rasmussen, who was leading the Tour, became only the second overall leader to be booted out of the race in its 104-year history, reportedly drawing his expulsion for missing two random drug tests in the last two months. To be honest, save for the years that Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour, I really didn't pay much attention to cycling, which hardly makes me an exception in the United States.

But the numerous instances of doping and performance-enhancing drug usage in cycling, not to mention the incessant sniping, have turned the sport into one more thing to skip over in the paper or online on the way to something else. Of course, before I settle onto my typically American high moral ground, I do have to stop to wonder whether Europeans have stopped taking baseball seriously, for much the same reason.

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