New Mill cyclist Gabz Cullaigh is “optimistic” ahead of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.

The 20-year-old cycling star will be lining up with some of the world’s greats as the huge events gets under way in the county on Friday.

And he is in good shape - despite an horrific crash while racing in the Netherlands last month.

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Gabz had much of the skin ripped off his right arm and leg when he was brought crashing down in the race, but within days of returning to his home in the centre of New Mill, he was back in the sadlle.

“He’s a brave lad but also a philosophical one,” said proud dad John.

New Mill cyclist Gabz Cullaigh after winning the Stafford Kermesse in Elite Road Series

“He accepts injuries like that are part and parcel of the game, even if he couldn’t sleep properly for days because of the injury.

“His coaches said they had complete faith and confidence in him and just wanted him to get on his bike.”

Gabz will again be riding for the Great Britan Cycling Team and is expected to be one of the leading lights in the spectacular race.

But he will be up against tough opposition.

WATCH Gabz training in New Mill below

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Some of the world’s best and most exciting riders will descend on Yorkshire. Sir Bradley Wiggins will celebrate his birthday in Yorkshire as he prepares for the race with his Team Wiggins teammates, and last year’s winner, Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug, will be again involved, as will Pete Kennaugh, current British road champion, and Luke Rowe.

Gabz started his cycling career on a mountain bike in 2008 and in 2009 he purchased his first road bike and joined his local cycling club – Holme Valley Wheelers.

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In 2012, he was accepted onto the formerly named Talent Team programme and he has since graduated through the Olympic Development Programme and onto the Olympic Academy Programme which he was accepted onto in 2014.

He was part of a young Great Britain Cycling Team selected for the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain, finishing 61st before being part of the under-23 men’s team at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, USA.

Cyclists race through the street at the Huddersfield Criterium races. Gabz Cullaigh leads.

On Friday he will line up with team-mates Frazer Clacharty, Grant Ferguson, Joe Fry, Iain Paton, Mark Stewart, Ian Wilkinson and Oliver Wood.

The Tour gets under way in Beverley on Friday and Stage One takes the riders to Settle. Stage 2 sees the race go from Otley to Doncaster, while Stage 3 sees the riders in the north, from Middlesbrough to Scarborough.

John Cullaigh said: “Gabz moved out to Italy to train at the start of February and has done a number of races across Europe, and has done well.

“He has also lost 4km as a result of all the hard work in the Italian mountains near Lake Garda and is in good shape.

“He finished 43rd in the first Tour de Yorkshire last year and is confident of doing better than that.

“His own target is a place in the top 20.”