Franco Marvulli will retire from track racing at the end of this indoor season. The Swiss rider, who won over 30 Six Days and four world titles, also has a Olympic silver medal in his prize cabinet. "I decided about ten years ago that I would quit in my mid-thirties. I turned 35 in November so this is it," he told Cyclingnews from his cabin during his last Six Day in Rotterdam.
"I am not going to miss the racing," Marvulli stated with his enigmatic smile. The rider from Zürich is a crowd favorite wherever he rides. After so many years on the Six Day circuit he knows how to play the crowds. From asking for kisses from women in the stands to routinely chatting with the sponsors on the infield and giving his victory flowers to the volunteers around the track, Marvulli knows what the spectators want.
"I will miss the family that is Six Days racing, the friends you see over and over again when you return to Rotterdam or any other city but the rest of it? Not so much."
Marvulli partnered with his compatriot Bruno Risi for many Six Days. Over half of his victories were alongside Risi, but the two Swiss riders were also successful at World Track Championships and the Olympics. Marvulli and Risi won the Madison world title in 2003 and 2007 and came second in 2004. At the Olympic Games in Athens they took the silver medal behind Graeme Brown and Stuart O'Grady. Marvulli won two individual world titles in the scratch race in 2002 and 2003, but rates his Olympic silver medal higher.
"That generated so much publicity in Switzerland. When you win world titles on the track the cycling fans and the people in the cycling world know about this. If you win a medal at the Olympic Games, the entire country knows about it. The Prime Minister called me and we became really well-known in Switzerland."
Casually reading a book in his small cabin while the music around him plays at high volume, the Swiss track rider is adamant that he won't regret his decision to end his career after this season. "I just wanted to stop without saying anything really. I don't even know what will be my last race yet. It's no big deal for me. Twenty years of racing is enough. I decided this long ago and no one tells me that I have to stop now."
"There are new challenges waiting for me. Me and my girlfriend want to start a business in education. She is a teacher and we developed learning projects for schools. The things I learned in sports are quite the same as the things you learn at school. You don't have to train or study 24/7. It's the quality of training or learning that matters. Quality over quantity. I am looking forward to building that business at home in Zürich."