Hundreds of spectators lined the streets of Ilkley to watch the riders on the fourth stage of the Tour of Britain pass through the town centre yesterday.

Many people had left their workplace or taken a break from shopping trips to stand on Brook Street and Station Road watching the race.

Others headed for the Cow and Calf Rocks to see the cyclists hit the top of a testing climb.

Shortly after 2pm, the first sponsor cars, some of which handed out baseball caps and t-shirts to spectators, arrived in town, followed by a commentator's car and a fleet of police motor bikes, clearing the road for the race to pass through.

The Yorkshire stage of the race began in Rotherham on Thursday morning. By the time the field had made its way north, and then west from Tadcaster through Otley, the field had split into two groups.

A large leading pack won applause from spectators on the streets, and there was a gap, during which more spectators moved close to the edge of the kerb and the traffic island on Brook Street to get a closer look at the race of the race.

The larger second group of cyclists shot around the corner from Brook Street to Station Road accompanied by more applause and cheers from the crowd, and were followed by dozens of support and emergency vehicles as the race headed on to tackle higher ground.

The route took competitors onto a tough uphill stretch from Cowpasture Road to the Cow and Calf Rocks - one of the race's King of the Mountains' phases - skirting the edge of Rombalds Moor past Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston, before heading towards Baildon and downhill to the finishing point at Bradford's Lister Park.

The front position in the race was said to have changed more than 30 times before the cyclists reached Ilkley.

Winner of the stage was Spanish cyclist Adrian Palomares of the Fuerteventura-Canarias team, who also took first place in the overall race after the stage. Highest placed British rider in Stage Four was John Bellis of the Great Britain team.