SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- David Zabriskie won the third stage of the Tour of California by inches over Michael Rogers and took over the race lead on Tuesday.
The U.S. national time-trial champion won the 113.3-mile stage from San Francisco to Santa Cruz in 4 hours, 26 minutes and 9 seconds. He leads Rogers by four seconds overall.
Lance Armstrong finished 14th and was 12th overall, 27 seconds back.
"The final climb was long and hard," said Zabriskie, who has twice finished second overall in the four previous races but never won a stage. "We were just trying to hold off the chase group."
Three-time defending race champ Levi Leipheimer was third, also in the same time as the top two finishers. He's six seconds behind Zabriskie.
The top three finishers all began the third stage in a group of 20, trailing Brett Lancaster by 10 seconds.
"I screwed up the finish," said Leipheimer, the third-place finisher in the 2007 Tour de France. "I knew about the final corner, but Dave got the jump on us. I closed the gap to Mick [Rogers], but it was just too short to the finish to do anything."
Lancaster fell to 36th place overall after finishing 51st in the stage.
The fourth stage of the eight-day race will be a 121.5-mile road race Wednesday from San Jose to Modesto.