THE fans were out in force at Ilkley Moor during the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, and Wilsden rider Annie Simpson hopes to experience that more often, as she wants to see the women's race run for the same length as the men's.

Simpson has been cycling for nearly 15 years but currently only rides part-time. She works as a nutritionist and has both a degree and a masters qualification to her name.

Despite her busy life outside of the sport, Simpson has racked up some impressive achievements in the saddle, which include an Under-23s national mountain bike title and a podium finish in the national road race championships.

Speaking after Friday's Barnsley-Ilkley stage, she said: "We can do four stages just as well as the men.

"I think the race is exciting and I don't think that anybody would say that they wouldn't want it to be four days.

"It's progression (the race moving to two days instead of one) and hopefully with the support of the race, we'll get there eventually."

Simpson's work as a nutritionist meant she was able to use that, as well her experience of the local roads, to help her Drops cycling team throughout Thursday and Friday's races.

She said: "With it being two days, getting your fuelling and drinking right is really important, especially when it's so hard going.

"I tried to help the girls where possible and obviously I know the roads really well, so I tried to give them some advice. At the end of the day though, it's whether you have the legs or not.

Simpson admitted that the climbs during Friday's stage were particularly difficult, saying: "The last two were really really tough but we knew that going into it.

"It was quite rolling all day so when you got to them you were already pretty tired. We were a bit on the back foot as a team after the second to last climb so we had to chase quite a lot coming into the bottom of the Cow and Calf.

"By the time we hit that we were pretty gassed, but we gave it our everything and that's all you can do really."

There is little time for Simpson to rest up as she has a packed schedule ahead of her. She said: "This next month is really busy as I'm doing the Tour Series around the UK.

"After that, I might be doing the Women's Tour of Britain and the National Championships. We'll reassess after those and then we'll see about the rest of the year."