VAIL, Colo. (AP) – Levi Leipheimer edged Christian Vande Velde on Thursday in the third stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to regain the overall lead after three stages.
Leipheimer, the Butte, Mont., rider who competes for RadioShack, completed the uphill 10-mile time trial in 25 minutes, 47.8 seconds. Vande Velde, the Garmin-Cervelo star from Lemont, Ill., was 0.58 seconds back. EPM-UNE’s Rafael Infantino, from Colombia, was third — about 4 1/2 seconds behind the winner.
“I didn’t expect it to be a half-second,” said Leipheimer, who won the Tour of Utah last week and also won the Tour of Switzerland this yeart. “But after what happened yesterday, I knew Christian would be motivated.
“I consider it a co-victory. We’re friends, we’re neighbors in Spain and we’ve doing this in the trenches for a long time.”
Leipheimer, who held the race lead for one day after winning the first stage, has an 11-second lead over Vande Velde with three stages remaining.
“I was really motivated,” said Vande Velde, who finished 17th overall in the Tour de France and was part of the winning team. “I want to rip the pedals off from the start.”
Tejay Van Garderen, the HTC-Highroad rider from Bozeman, Mont., finished sixth in the stage, 51 seconds behind. He dropped from first to third overall, 17 seconds behind Leipheimer.
Tom Danielson of Colorado was fourth overall, 21 seconds back. George Hincapie of Greenville, S.C., the winner of the second stage, was fifth — 53 seconds behind.
Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, competing in the United States for the first time since 2006, finished ninth in the stage. The Australian star is seventh overall — 1:18 behind.
The seven-day event continues Friday with the 82.8-mile leg from Avon to Steamboat Springs. The race concludes Sunday with a 70.9-mile stage from Golden to Denver.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)