Cyclist Eijssen injured in 'freak accident'

Yannick Eijssen from team BMC rides past the sculptures of cyclists before the start of time trials of the UCI Tour of Beijing cycling competitions held in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) — Belgian cyclist Yannick Eijssen has been forced out of the Tour of Beijing after an accident apparently caused by a billboard loosened by a low flying helicopter.

The accident occurred during the third stage of the race Friday around the Chinese capital.

The 22-year-old Eijssen, who rides for the BMC Racing team, suffered a fracture to a small bone beneath his nose in what race organizers called a "freak accident."

A notice on the event's official website said organizers were investigating reports that a television helicopter forced billboards on to the course. A television motorcycle was also involved in the accident, but no other riders were affected.

The race ends Sunday at the Bird's Nest stadium in northern Beijing.