Friday, 18 February 2011

Choppy Warburton......Drugs are bad OK ?

"Choppy has been firmly identified as the instigator of drug-taking in cycling  in the 19th century."

Warburton was banned from the sport after unproven claims of massive doping in the 1896 Bordeaux–Paris. His activities may have contributed to the early death of Arthur  Linton he allegedly died after drinking a blend of cocainecaffeine and strychnine,

 Choppy's more notorious episodes including the race in which Jimmy Michael was reported to have taken a potion and within a few laps collapsed on the track, picked himself up and then in a daze, set off in the wrong direction. Here is Jimmy Michael Pictured with Choppy Warburton himself (left).

Arthur Linton pictured with just some of the prizes he won during his short but successful career of 3 years as a professional cyclist

Arthur Linton pictured with just some of the prizes he won during his short but successful career of 3 years as a professional cyclist

Jimmy Michael with his trainer 'Choppy' Warburton

Above: Jimmy Michael with his trainer 'Choppy' Warburton

During 1880’s and 1890,s folowing the invention of the chain driven cycle the sport of cycling became very popular. The sport was popular very where amnd in 1884 Aberdare Bicycle Club was formed and in 1890 it had developed into a racing team.

The Tale of Arthur Linton
Courtesy Rhondda-Cynon Taf Libraries
Extraordinarily, during this golden age of cycling Aberaman produced no less than four world class cyclists: the Linton Brothers Arthur, Tom and Samuel; and Jimmy Michael. Of these four Arthur Linton and Jimmy Michael became World Champions.
Arthur Linton began to race locally and by 1892 was well known throughout South Wales. During the 1893 season he began to establish himself nationally and he was signed as a professional to ride a 'Gladiator' cycle under the tutelage of the trainer 'Choppy' Warburton. In 1894 Arthur defeated Dubois, the French Champion, in Paris and was narrowly defeated by the Italian Champion Bonnic, who thereafter refused to race him again. He was given the title of 'Champion Cyclist of the World' and when he returned to Aberaman in December he was given a hero's welcome, a public banquet was held in the Lamb and Flag public house and he was presented with an illuminated address
1895 was a less successful year for Arthur. He suffered a knee injury and split from his trainer 'Choppy' Warburton. However, it was during the 1896 season that Arthur won his greatest race, the Bordeaux to Paris Race in which he defeated Riviere. Tragically, it seems that this race took too much of a toll on his body and Arthur Linton died of Typhoid Fever in June 1896, only some six weeks after the race. He was just 24 years old when he died.
A protégé of Arthur Linton, Jimmy Michael came to public attention in 1894 when he won the Herne Hill race in record time. He too was signed by 'Gladiator' and taken under the wing of 'Choppy' Warburton. In 1895 he continued his run of success, beating the French champion Lesna and later tied with Arthur Linton's record for 50km. At the end of the year he became the World Middle Distance Champion at Cologne. As a result of Jimmy's meteoric rise and the poor year suffered by Arthur Linton, an element of rivalry appeared.
Shortly after Arthur's death, Jimmy split from 'Choppy' Warburton and then decided to chance his arm in America, where he enjoyed a successful career, breaking many records and amassing a sizeable fortune. Jimmy retired from cycling for a while and instead became a jockey and racing stable owner, though when this venture failed Jimmy returned to cycling in 1902. Unfortunately, he was not the same rider on his return and did not recapture his earlier record breaking form. He died, aged only 29, in November 1904 on the liner 'Savoie' whilst travelling back to New York. The cause of death was an attack of delirium tremens, probably brought on through heavy drinking.
Tom Linton continued to enjoy a successful racing career although he never enjoyed the same level of recognition as either Arthur or Jimmy. He died in 1914 of Typhoid Fever, the same disease that had killed his brother 18 years before.
Samuel Linton had returned to work in the local collieries and died in 1935.


 Toulouse-Lautrec and Jimmy Michael

Robert Crumb

Phew after all that I only need a double espresso and a couple of ibuprofen to get me up the Alpe

Other Choppies


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