The usual suspects dominated the general classification at the Tour de France, but a number of riders sprung from nowhere to put in standout performances. Here are five that caught our eye:

Alexis Vuillermoz

Alexis Vuillermoz wins stage eight of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Alexis Vuillermoz wins stage eight of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

At the age of 27 Vuillermoz is no spring chicken, but neither is he massively well known. An 11th place finish overall at the Giro d’Italia in 2014 showed us what he can do, but at this Tour de France he stood out in a first week which caused his Ag2r teammates to crack.

As Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet – both top-10 finishers last year – lost time on stage two, Vuillermoz hit back immediately by climbing to third place behind Chris Froome and Joaquim Rodriguez on the Mur de Huy on stage three.

While the win wasn’t to be in Huy, Vuillermoz didn’t have to wait long to triumph in front of his home fans, soloing up the Mur de Bretagne on stage eight to salvage the first week for Ag2r.

He never quite reached the highs of stage eight through the rest of the Tour, but a win at the Tour de France is more than many riders ever achieve.

Warren Barguil

Warren Barguil on stage eleven of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Warren Barguil on stage eleven of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Another Frenchman, Barguil made waves in the first two weeks for his excellent bike riding skills before making the headlines in the final week for his terrible bike riding skills.

At the tender age of 24, Giant-Alpecin clearly see Barguil as a development project, with the hope to see him crack the overall top 10 in years to come.

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It looked like that year would be this year during the first two weeks and Barguil worked hard and put in some great rides in challenging conditions to challenge for a top-10 place.

He did well over the cobbles, up the Mur de Huy and in the wind and rain of stage two and was there-or-thereabouts throughout the three weeks without ever really threatening to win anything.

Barguil came to prominence on stage 16 for all the wrong reasons, though, when his cavalier descending style resulted in Geraint Thomas being hurled off the side of the road.

His climbing is good, his consistency needs a little work and his descending could certainly do with a polish, but as a prospect Barguil could be the next big French hope.

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink on stage twelve of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Robert Gesink on stage twelve of the 2015 Tour de France (Watson)

Half a decade ago, Gesink was touted as the next big thing in Dutch cycling after finishing fourth in the 2010 Tour de France, but he has never quite matched the potential he showed in his early career.

Problems caused by an irregular heartbeat blighted the last few seasons until he took time out of the sport to get the issue corrected in 2014.

Returning in time for the end of the season, Gesink started, but did not finish, the Vuelta a España and returned in 2015 with a new lease of life.

Top 10 overall finishes at the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse set him up perfectly for the Tour de France. Gesink fought back from losing time on stage two into Zeeland to secure sixth place in the final standings.

A testament to his consistency over the three weeks is that he never finished lower than 36th in any of the 21 stages, climbing to fourth on the race’s first mountain up to La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

Eighth on the stage to La Toussuire effectively sealed Gesink’s GC standing and sealed a very successful Tour for the LottoNL-Jumbo climber.

Daniel Teklehaimanot

Daniel Teklehaimanot on stage six of the 2015 Tour de France

Daniel Teklehaimanot on stage six of the 2015 Tour de France

At the start of the year, Teklehaimanot was just ‘one of the Eritrean riders in MTN-Qhubeka’, but after nine stages of the Tour de France the 26-year-old virtually became a household name.

It was, apparently, Teklehaimanot’s dream to wear the polka dot jersey at the Tour and he did it with a smile after topping the mountains classification after stage six.

His intention was clear from the off, coming off the back of winning the climber’s jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, and getting himself into the breakaway as soon as a climb came into sight in the first week.

There weren’t many of them, though, and his lead in the competition was swiftly ended when Froome smashed it up the Col du Soudet, but that wouldn’t have bothered Teklehaimanot.

Having got himself in the break again on stage 16 to Gap, the Eritrean notched up his first top-10 finish, crossing the line seventh after a good descent of the Col de Manse.

Mathias Frank

Matthias Frank on stage 19 of the Tour de France (Sunada)

Matthias Frank on stage 19 of the Tour de France (Sunada)

If you were told of the final top 10 of the 2015 Tour de France before it even kicked off you wouldn’t be surprised to see nine of the names on the list. Matthias Frank, however, seemed to exceed a lot of people’s expectations to climb to a solid eighth place overall.

Commentators often talk about riders who just get better as the three-week races go on and Frank was the epitomy of that theory as he recovered from a pretty average start and only went up the GC until stage 14.

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Fifth place on the climb to Pra Loup propelled Frank into the top 10 and there he stayed, flitting between seventh and eighth, eventually settling for the second number.

IAM Cycling haven’t exactly set the world alight in their first season in the WorldTour, but this high finish for Frank will be a boost for the team.

 Watch the best bits of the 2015 Tour de France