THE finish line in York was loud with applause an hour before Stage Two got underway in Selby, but not for the Tour de Yorkshire.

Several hundred people gave the 100 riders in the Women's race a rousing send off on their four laps of the York circuit as Bob Howden, British Cycling president, waved them off watched by Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme and Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Many family groups were among the crowd and some had travelled from Cheshire, Lancashire, Cleveland and other counties to join locals for a day out at the cycle races. Inbetween laps, they visited  trade stalls and Ebor Street Party on the racecourse, and hot drink sellers did a brisk trade in the half hour intervals between the laps.

The spectators knew when to return to the barriers by the thunder of other spectators banging them as each rider came past.

By the finish of the women's race the crowd had swelled to a couple of thousand and it was growing by the minute as the vanguard arrived of the many cyclists who used the Selby-York cycle track to see both the start and the finish of the men's race.

Louise Mahe of Ikon-Mazda won in a photo finish from Eileen Roe of Wiggle Honda and Katie Curtis of Pearl Izumi Sports Tours Int.

The crowd applauded every rider who finished including those who finished ten minutes after the winner.

Mr Howden said the women's race was an important part of the British cycling calendar and could only get better.

Several groups then sat down to a picnic lunch in their favoured spots by the crowd barriers while others sought places out of the wind or headed for local pubs.