CROWDS turned out in force to cheer on the riders on Stage Two of the Tour de Yorkshire today. 

Following yesterday's exploits during Stage one between Bridlington and Scarborough, riders including Sir Bradley Wiggins set off from Selby Abbey shortly before 11.30am today heading for York.

They passed through Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, Beverley, Wetwang and Norton before arriving in York where they completed two laps of a city centre route.

Thousands lined the streets to welcome some of Europe's elite cyclists who first experienced the passion for top-level cycling in Yorkshire during last year's Grand Depart.

The riders finished with a dramatic finale at Knavesmire to the sound of cheers and applause.

A women's race featuring multi Paralympian champion Dame Sarah Storey and Olympic champion Joanna Roswell took place today, held over four laps of the same 20km course through York and its suburbs.

The top three finished: Louise Mahe, Eileen Roe and Katie Curtis.

A short time later, the men's race rolled into York for three laps of the same 20km circuit and after a sprint finish, Dutchman Moreno Hoffland of Team Lotto NL Jumbo won the middle stage.

Crowds had already created a party atmosphere hours before they caught a glimpse of a rider, with Bishopthorpe Road and Fossgate leading the way by throwing their own party for the spectacle.

Dancers, a BBQ, and a beer festival ran all day in Fossgate, while the residents of Bishopthorpe Road were revelling in witnessing a major race pass by their front doors for the second time in 10 months.

They celebrated with live music and activities for all the family as traders served up a range of delights for the crowds.

The street knows how to throw a party and Paul Crossman, licensee of The Swan, was beaming to see his pub packed to the rafters for most of the day.

"Days like this are great for business," he smiled.

"It's great to see the community really enjoying it because it's not just about businesses doing well, but making sure everyone is really enjoying it.

"We've been lucky because it's come right past our front door for two years running, but I don't know how pubs just off the route will have done.

"It's quite a spectacle to see them coming through at full tilt and properly racing."

Liz Cooper, manager of the Puddin and Pie, in Bishopthorpe Road, was making the most of the day by selling her pies in the street.

She added: "It's a fantastic day and great atmosphere.

"Everyone is in a great mood with good cheer, and everyone is getting into the York spirit.

"We will welcome any party down Bishopthorpe Road and love the crowds that are here."

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council praised organisers and the city's residents for throwing their support behind the first race of its kind in Yorkshire.

She said: “What a day to remember! I couldn’t be more proud of the city my colleagues and I serve, the people who live here and the businesses based here. York has once again been shown at its best to millions of people around the world.

"I want to thank all the staff involved from the council, the emergency services and region-wide partners who’ve worked together to make this day so special.

“To have such a prestigious inaugural women’s race staged here also today is another boost for the real legacy of this race - getting more people to cycle more often in York and across the region."

Those who turned up to enjoy the race may of only caught a fleeting sight of the athletes, but they were more than happy to come out to support them, and have called for it to come back to York nect year.

Vicky Vint, 39, of Irwin Avenue, Heworth, was watching the race with friends.

She said: “It’s a really good atmosphere and a great day for everyone.

“I would definitely like to see it here every year because it’s great for the community.”

Laura Jones, 28, of Nunnery Lane, believes the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire was a bigger event for the city than last year’s Tour.

Shae added: “When that came through everyone disappeared soon after but everyone got here early and stayed around.

“Everyone is really friendly and it’s nice when everyone pulls together and supports events like this in York.”

Grandaprents Val and Keith Carson, 73, of Poppleton Road, York, watched the race with their children and grandchildren.

Mrs Carson said: “It’s been an excellent day.

“All the stalls around here have been wonderful and it’s a great party atmosphere.

“It’s a great event for all of Yorkshire.”

Mr Carson added: “I’ve really enjoyed myself because it’s nice to see something like this.

“I hope this come back here year after year.”

The couple’s grandson, Joshua Dawson, nine, summed up the day for everyone: “It’s really good fun.”