Possibly with the exception of most of Belgium, who already believed he was, today is the day that Tom Boonen became a legend in the cycling world.
There are many recipes for legend-ness, but nothing beats a good comeback story, especially when it involves illegal drugs. See, Tommeke peaked pretty young, and long before he was 30 years old he’d won Paris-Roubaix 3 times, The Tour of Flanders twice, The World Championships, 6 stages of the Tour de France and a whole musette full of other classics and stage race wins. However, he was busted a few times for out-of-competition cocaine use and after a great 2009 season most people thought his career was finished.
After a couple of years of bad luck, along comes 2012 and he has, to date, won the Tour of Qatar, the small-c classic E3 Harelbeke, Gent–Wevelgem, then the massive Tour of Flanders (equalling the all-time wins of several other riders at 3) and today’s 4th win at the velodrome of Roubaix, making him only the 2nd rider in history to achieve this feat (even Merckx only won it 3 times). It’s this victory today that is the last ingredient in our legendary recipe. Oh, and as the French commentators love to say, quelle panache! – he won today’s race with a 52 km solo attack that bested even Cancellara’s a couple of years back. Boonen is no Fabian when it comes to time-trialing, so it was even more impressive to see him ride away from the group and hold it.
So there you have it, now you know the recipe to immortality. You have no excuses!
Note: cocaine is an optional ingredient, but adds flavor to your inevitable unauthorized biography.