Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team may not have won their third stage in a row, but they were within striking distance on a climber's course. Levi Leipheimer placed 2nd on Wednesday in the 168.2 km Stage 3, in a mad dash for the finish up a 4.8 km climb. The climb was 6.5 percent, with its steepest point reaching a 7.5 percent gradient. Leipheimer was bested by Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank) on the chaotic climb. Leipheimer beat Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni-Venezuela), Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches-Onfone) and Daniel Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) across the finish line. Diaz initially attacked on the climb, but Contador caught him.

"The team moved very well again today," said Sport Director Davide Bramati. "The guys controlled the race protecting Levi in the first part of the race. In the kilometers immediately proceeding the start of the climb we accelerated, reducing the group to only 30 riders. With two kilometers to go to the arrival Levi attacked Contador. At 300 metres from the arrival Contador took off and Levi, who had worked hard beforehand, couldn't respond to the acceleration."

Sylvain Chavanel also placed 12th on the stage for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, 35 seconds after Contador crossed the line.

Leipheimer is now second to Contador in the General Classification (GC), but only four seconds back.

"This stage was the first in a series of three which will be decisive," Bramati said. "Tomorrow there will be a 19.5 kilometer time trial and the day after tomorrow there's a mountain stage which is even more complex than today's. The game is still anyone's to win. Levi is in great shape and he can count on a fantastic team. It's going to be a fantastic fight."

Francesco Chicchi held the leader's jersey for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team for the first two stages, thanks to winning two sprint finishes — besting teammate Tom Boonen accidentally on stage 2.

For results, click here