Heavy crash for BMC's Eijssen in Beijing

Yannick Eijssen (BMC).

Yannick Eijssen (BMC). (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

The first serious crash of the Tour of Beijing involved Belgian Yannick Eijssen (BMC Racing Team) on a descent during stage 3 on Friday.

The accident took place about 10 kilometers from Young Ning, on the left side of a smooth and apparently not dangerous road. An advertising board was blown down and hit a TV motorcyclist who then struck Eijssen. The Belgian rider was racing at the back of the main peloton and was the only rider involved in the crash.

The origin of the accident remains uncertain. “The TV helicopter was flying pretty low at that time and it was windy too,” a member of the organization told Cyclingnews. “It's perhaps a combination of those two factors which blew the barricade down.”

In a bid to avoid another similar crash, the organising committee is going to recommend that Beijing TV, the broadcaster of the race's pictures, fly higher above the peloton on the last two stages.

Eijssen sustained facial abrasions and a fracture of the alveolar ridge in the roof his mouth, team doctor Scott Major told Cyclingnews. The rider was admitted to Yanqing County Hospital with a suspected broken leg but X-rays revealed he had no fracture except to the alveolar ridge and might leave hospital in the coming hours.

A 22-year-old neo-professional, Eijssen is a strong climber, notably having won the Under-23 Ronde de l'Isard in 2010, but is above all a downhill expert. Thanks to this talent, he captured a stage at the Tour de l'Avenir last year.

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