Arthur Linton's death

A story still circulates that Arthur Linton, one of the first British international riders, (he competed in European classics in the late 19th Century) died as a result of dope administered by his trainer, W. G. "Choppy" Warburton, during Bordeaux-Paris in 1886. The story appears on numerous websites and in a respect-able book on sport psychology published in 2005, where it's cited as the first known drug-related death in modern sporting history. But it's not true.
The fact is that Bordeaux-Paris was first run in 1891, five years after Linton's "death". Even more remarkably, Linton won the event in 1896, which would have required a feat of resurrection equalled (as far as we know) only once in the history of the human race. In fact he died at his home in Aberdare, South Wales two months after the race, the cause of death being given as typhoid.
It was speculated at the time that the terrific efforts he had made in Bordeaux-Paris had undermined his resistance to the disease.
However, Warburton was well-known as an advocate of performance-enhancing substances which he carried in his notorious "black bottle", most probably strychnine. The Cycling training manual of 1903 has this account: "if his charge showed any undue signs of distress, out came the black bottle, the contents of which seemed to act like magic on the distressed rider." There's no suggestion that Warburton was responsible for Linton's death, merely a reference to "poor Arthur Linton". Warburton was "a most successful coach". But the story gained currency and in 1897, after another "doping" scandal involving the sprinter Jimmy Michael, the NCU warned him off every track in Britain.
Books which repeat the story include Bob Goldman's Death in the Locker Room of 1984, Barrie Houlihan's Dying to Win (1999), Les Woodland's Dope (1980), and a chapter on "Substance Use" in The Sport Psych Handbook, 2005. No-one seems to have bothered to check the dates, or the cause of Death.

From The Veteran Leaguer
The official newsletter of the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists
Volume 14 No 03 - Autumn 2005