Triathlon: Team GB fans turn out in their thousands to cheer on Helen Jenkins

 

Hundreds of thousands of people thronged into central London today to watch the Olympic triathlon and Helen Jenkins' bid to add to Britain's gold tally.

Crowds around the Serpentine in Hyde Park were 10 deep in some places to watch the start of the race and the massive support continued for the cycling which passed in front of Buckingham Palace.

Triathlon is one of the few events that is mainly non-ticketed, where crowds can line the route to cheer on the British team.

Jenkins has previously said she was hoping that similar crowds to the ones that roared Bradley Wiggins on to Olympic gold on Wednesday will help her stand on top of the triathlon podium.

The 27-year-old, from Bridgend, goes into the race as the reigning world champion and a dominant winner of the test event in Hyde Park 12 months ago.

Joanne and James White travelled from Leeds to London for Olympic events this weekend and decided to get up early to watch Jenkins' bid for a gold medal.

Mrs White, 29, said: "The atmosphere is amazing. We saw the crowds for Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead and wanted to experience it for ourselves.

"We're really hoping we get to see Team GB get another gold. It's so exciting."

Jenkins is one of the favourites for gold, and has cemented her status this season with a second place in the World Triathlon Series race in Sydney and then a victory in San Diego in May.

She has been training hard since at her base in Bridgend, latterly with team-mates Vicky Holland and Lucy Hall, who will help her in her bid for Olympic glory.

Hall led the field as competitors left the Serpentine for the cycling stage.

Crowds lining the route cheered and screamed as cyclists passed them, waving Union flags.

Triathlon has been tipped to be one of the successes of the Games from a British point of view, with Jenkins going for gold in the women's race and brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee favourites for gold and silver in the men's race on Tuesday.

Justin Sillince, 28, travelled with friends from Surrey to catch a sight of Jenkins during the cycling stage.

"We got up at 6am and we're not even at the front," he said.

"We watched the road race and it was so good that we decided to come again. We've got tickets for GB in the volleyball tomorrow so it's a whole weekend of it.

"It only happens once so you've got to make the most of it. Obviously everyone else thinks the same because they've all turned out."

PA

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