The US leader of the Swiss Phonak squad also gains the tour leader's golden jersey for his efforts. Discovery's George Hincapie, who achieved the leader's jersey Tuesday, finished the day in fourth, about a minute slower than Landis.
The 17-mile time trial course headed south over some hilly terrain west of Highway 101, then swung northward back into town. Headwinds stung the cyclists on that final stretch.
Levi Leipheimer, who won the overall lead in the prologue but lost it to Hincapie Tuesday, finished in 9th place today and dropped to 6th in the overall standings.
Landis, 30, is a former mountain biker who rode with Lance Armstrong on the US Postal team, as did Leipheimer and Hincapie. They are the only three cyclists who have worn the golden jersey in this race.
The top 5 on today's stage were:
Floyd Landis (Phonak) 35:58
David Zabriskie (CSC) 36:24
Bobby Julich (CSC) 36:33
George Hincapie (Discovery) 36:53
Nathan O'Neill (Health Net/Maxxis) 36:55
In the overall standings, Hincapie fell to fourth and Leipheimer ended up in sixth. Utah cyclist David Zabriskie, who had the fastest time until Landis finished, catapulted himself up to second overall from fifth. Landis sat in fourth place Tuesday.
Zabriskie wore the yellow jersey in the first few stages of the Tour de France, after winning the opening stage. Landis finished 9th overall in the Tour last year.
Top 10 overall:
1 Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak Hearing Systems 7.56.36
2 David Zabriskie (USA), Team CSC, :29 seconds behind
3 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC, :34 behind
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel, :45 behind
5 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis, 1:08 behind
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner, 1:10 behind
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto, 1:29 behind
8 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel, 1:49 behind
9 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC, 1:55 behind
10 Jason McCartney (USA) Discovery Channel, 1:58
Thursday's Stage 4 is slated to be the longest day of Tour of California. The cyclists leave Monterey at 10 a.m. and race 131 miles south to San Luis Obispo. It will be interesting to see if the Phonak team can help Landis hold onto the golden jersey over the hilly course.