On the brink of the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships, we at BDIPC find it only appropriate that we celebrate the reign of the current world champion: Zdenek Stybar. One of the handful of Dudes who get down on the road and in the mud, Styby’s having a late-season resurgence in the results department. And not a moment too soon, either: With the World Cup all but decided and the Superprestige and GvA series wins arguably out of reach, the six-time Czechoslovakian national champion will need to lay it all out in Koksijde to prove to his rivals that he’s the one who belongs on top.

As we’re sure you know, there’s something we love about a man who goes hard all year long. Now, now: Other than just the fact that he goes hard all year long! The girls of BDIPC hadn’t been able to nail exactly what it is until we scanned the Omega Pharma Quick-Step presentation after Liévin. The ease with which Stybar shifts from the quick and muddy races of autumn to the long, sun-soaked stages of summer soothes us, somehow. It’s as if he’s saying, “Do not worry, fair maidens. I will complete whatever tasks fill your Czech list with a combination of brute strength and my distinctly European sense of style.” And BDIPC is sure you can imagine the long list of things we’d like this Czech to fill. But in the meantime, Styby, we’ll watch for you to make a move at Hoogerheide, and hope that you back us into a corner in Koksijde. Czech, mate. 

We are beyond pleased to anounce that BDIPC is sending our creator and head writer to Koksijde, Belgium for the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships. Though she’s been lucky enough to have had housing and access to the races arranged for her, intercontinental airfare is a serious expense for a website that currently does it for the LOLs. If you’re one of BDIPC’s readers breathlessly anticipating all the juicy posts she’ll bang out in Koksijde, please consider buying her some frites

By far, our new favorite phrase is “He won like a Belgian.” What’s “winning like a Belgian”, you ask? When your Dude comes across the line and no one else is even within the photographers’ range, that’s winning like a Belgian. When he has time to weave back and forth to give spectators high fives before he finishes, that, too, is winning like a Belgian. So when we started waking up on our days off for the World Cup and Superprestige races, that was exactly what we were looking for. And it was funny how much those first pixellated, split-second glimpses of the EuroCX Dudes across a whole ocean’s worth of fiber optics felt exactly like those first hazy, split-second glimpses of a handsome Dude’s face across a dark, crowded room. 

So we watched and we waited. It was incredibly hard, and for the very first time incredibly hard was no fun at all. In fact, we suffered a positively crippling amount of anxiety about choosing the wrong Dude to kick off BDIPC’s 2011 European CX season with. By last week, we were a handful of races into both the World Cup and Superprestige series and we were starting to fear we were being too selective. But we held fast. We refused to lower our standards and we are so glad that we found it in us to wait. At Zonhoven, the skinsuit zippers came down and our patience finally paid off. A leader (Belgian, appropriately enough) broke away and stayed away until he came across the line alone, with no one else to be seen for what felt like miles. We were sure, then, that Niels Albert was the only Dude we wanted to tear the packaging off EuroCX 2011 with. 

Starting his cycling career as a BMX racer, Niels moved into cyclocross as a junior, proceeded to win everything in sight, and shows no signs of easing off anytime soon. Niels confirms the suspicion that once Dudes get used to being on top, they’ll do just about anything to stay there. At BDIPC, we obviously find this more than permissible. Plus, you know well how much we love those multidisciplinary Dudes - especially the ones who come to CX from MTB or BMX racing. Just knowing the Dude has that particular element of fearlessness is enticing in a very particular way. And as we watched Niels rip through the sand at Zonhoven with that steady, reckless precision, we suddenly knew that all the times we swore we’d never get down with a Dude in the sand were lies

When it comes down to it, we know Niels is exactly like the domestic Dudes we love so truly. At the same time, he’s so wonderfully un-like our domestic Dudes! His provenance alone makes us weak in the knees. But let’s be honest: Niels isn’t the first Dude from afar, and he certainly won’t be the last. And we know that our domestic Dudes are top-notch competitors in both Bangability and world-class CX. So Niels, consider giving us a preview of coming attractions. We at BDIPC love knowing what’s next. Yeah, we know: You’ll be around for Louisville in 2013, but we’ve been patient enough. Come show us what winning like a Belgian really means. We’ve got all sorts of lines you can cross.