Unknown rider steals thunder from big guns MARIKINA CITY—Mark Guevarra, a virtual unknown with legs jaded observers describe as tailor-made for the climbs, stole the thunder from the big guns in the Liquigas-LPGMA Tour of Luzon’s third stage that was halved because of—again—heavy traffic. The 23-year-old Guevarra, a veteran of the 2006 and 2007 Padyak Pinoy, topped Wednesday’s stage from Tagaytay City to the Marikina Sports Center by his lonesome in four hours, four minutes and 12 seconds, 48 seconds ahead of the more veteran Benito Lopez Jr. of the Batang Tagaytay team. “Proud na proud ako sa nagawa kong ito,” said Guevarra, who works in an auto painting shop of his first career stage victory. “Wala rin sa plano ko na kunin itong stage na ito, basta sinunod ko lang ‘yung game-plan ng team [Road Bike-7-Eleven] namin na protektahan ‘yung lamang namin sa team competition. Pero ’nung nagkaroon ng pagkakataon, kinuha ko na,” added Guevarra, who earned an extra P5,000 cash prize courtesy of Burlington. Former Eagle of the Mountain Paquito Rivas, head of the race management group Philippine National Cycling Association, picked Guevarra as one of the young contenders for the overall individual title in the Tour sanctioned by the PhilCycling headed by Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “Climber siya, at malaki ang pag-asa niyang manalo dito,” said Rivas of the young rider, who displayed his mountain-climbing prowess during the Sierra Madre qualifying races of the Tour organized by Arnel Ty through Liquigaz and the Liquified Petroleum Gas Manufacturers Association. Guevarra indeed showed he has what it takes to win the Tour. From 11th overall in Stage 2, he leaped to fifth overall, just 50 seconds behind new overall leader, American Vinyl skipper Lloyd Lucien Reynante. Reynante, son of one of the local greats Maui, is slowly shedding off his image as domestique to two-time champion Victor Espiritu, an absentee in this Tour, by grabbing the yellow jersey from My Photos captain and Stage 2 winner Merculio Ramos.