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Guevarra is ’09 Tour of Luzon champion

April 18, 2009 7:39pm
MANILA, Philippines – John Mark Guevarra can now put his past hardships behind him and enjoy the moment for being a Tour of Luzon champion.

The 23-year old Guevarra, a part time car painter and former Red Ribbon kitchen helper, was declared the eventual champion after the 2009 Liquigaz-LPGMA Tour of Luzon’s last individual race, the dreaded Baguio-to-Baguio sixth stage.

The Tour ends Sunday with the team trial competition at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.

Guevarra stole the spotlight from Baguio-to-Baguio stage winner and Team Batang Tagaytay skipper Baler Ravina as he retained the yellow jersey and was declared eventual winner of the tour revival.

“Sobrang masaya kasi hindi ko naman talaga inaasahan ito," said Guevarra, who started to love the sport in 1996 upon watching his idol former Tour two-time champion Victor Espiritu when he won the 1996 edition which was then sponsored by Marlboro.

“Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa lahat ng mga taong tumulong sa akin at nagbigay ng inspirasyon, sa girlfriend ko na si Grace, sa aking ina na si Eleonor, sa teammates ko sa Road Bike sa aming manager na si Bong Suan. At sa coach ko na si Rhynne Manlapaz na dahil sa kanya ay naayos ang ensayo ko at nagkaroon ng direksiyon,"

Guevarra’s individual achievement made him P60,000 richer after winning the overall individual champion prize of P50,000 and an additional P10,000 for ruling the third and fifth stages of the race.

But his winnings are expected to reach in six figures since his team, Road Bike/7-11, is leading the team competition where a top prize money of P500,000 awaits the champion squad.

Asked what he would do with his winnings, Guevarra said, “Ipangenegosyo ko po para matulungan ang pamilya ko."

Finishing second behind Guevarra in the overall individual race was My Photos team captain Mecrulio Ramos, who climbed from fourth to second place with a total time of 26:35:24.

Some 40 seconds behind Guevarra is former No.2 Hillson Mangahis of Team Batang Tagaytay who finished third overall.

Meanwhile, Mark Julius Bonzo of Geo State/The Beacon Team and son of the late anmd former Tour champion Romeo Bonzo won the Tour’s top rookie honors for a total prize winnings of P20,000. – GMANews.TV