A look back at the 2015 Tour of California - Gallery

Sagan won by a whisker, and there were a few surprises along the way

The Tour of California's 10th edition in 2015 set a high bar for star power and drama, with Tinkoff's new multi-million dollar man Peter Sagan emerging from an early season slump to add two more stage wins to his California record, then taking things to an entirely different level by winning the overall with a bike throw on the final day.

Sagan didn't win the final stage in Pasadena last year, that honour went to Mark Cavendish, one of four the Manxman would get in 2015, but the time bonus for Sagan's third-place stage finish lifted the Slovakian past Etixx-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe, who had taken the overall race lead from Sagan on the previous day when the stage finished atop Mt. Baldy.

Although Sagan lost the yellow jersey to Alaphilippe on the summit finish, his improbable sixth-place result there, just 47 seconds down on Alaphilippe and ahead of notable climbers like Robert Gesink and Laurens ten Dam, kept him close enough to leap past the French revelation and take the final 2015 overall crown in front of the legendary Rose Bowl stadium.

In between Cavendish's sprint domination, Alaphilippe's race-changing ascent up Mt. Baldy and Sagan's heroics, the 2015 race saw Latvian Hincapie rider Toms Skujins sneak away for a clever stage win on a hilltop outside of San Jose, while a planned Big Bear Lake time trial had to be scrapped because of snow and was replaced by a much shorter course around an amusement park.

This year's race features one of the best start lists in the race's history, with a Tour of California record-setting 10 WorldTour teams ready to take on the Pro Continental and domestic Continental teams over eight days from May 15-22. Get ready for Sunday's start in San Diego by looking at some of the best moments from last year's race in the gallery above, then check out our video below of five riders to watch next week in the Golden State.

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