The force is with Mahe in victory sprint

Womens Tour de Yorkshire winner Louise Mahe (centre) second place Eileen Roe (right) and thid place Katie Curtis on the podium after the Womens Tour de Yorkshire, in York. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 2, 2015. See PA story CYCLING Yorkshire. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire.'EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Womens Tour de Yorkshire winner Louise Mahe (centre) second place Eileen Roe (right) and thid place Katie Curtis on the podium after the Womens Tour de Yorkshire, in York. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 2, 2015. See PA story CYCLING Yorkshire. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire.'EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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A thrilling sprint finish decided the first Tour de Yorkshire women’s race in York.

IKO-Mazda’s Louise Mahe just held off Eileen Roe, of Wiggle Honda, after four laps of a 20-kilometre course around the city centre.

Katie Curtis (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) was third, with her team mate Katie Archibald taking the sprints prize after being among the top-three at the end of each of the first three circuits.

The women’s race was a curtain-raiser to the second stage of the men’s event, which began in Selby and finishes on the same city centre course.

The women’s race attracted a 99-strong field, ranging from club riders to top professionals and including legendary Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey and Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell.

A delighted Mahe admitted she was stunned by the size of the crowd for the race, hours before the men were due to arrive in the city.

“It was amazing,” she said. “In every bit of the course there were people cheering - I was like ‘wow, this is quite cool’!

“It is a legacy of thje Tour de France being here last year and I’d love to see it become an annual event.

“It can only go from strength to strength.”

Dame Sarah described the race as “fast, frantic and hard”.

She said: “It’s a format that really works. I know there are plans to make it bigger and better and I feel really fortunate to have been part of the first one.”