Jan Ullrich paid a flying visit to London at the weekend and was so impressed with what he saw thatPIC BY TIM DE WAELE Jan Ullrich on Sunday handed British cycling a major boost by claiming that he intends to ride the Tour of Britain in 2006. Speaking to journalists in The Trafalgar hotel in London, where Ullrich had touched down to attend a gala dinner in honour of Eddy Merckx on Saturday, 'Der Kaiser' said that he "would love to ride" the event won yesterday by Nick Nuyens. Ullrich had no time for sightseeing before his lunchtime flight but gushed diplomacy as he held forth under the gaze of Nelson's column. "The standing ovation I received at last night's dinner was wonderful," said the 1997 Tour winner. "I didn't know whether it was for me or my girlfriend (Sara Steinhauser, sister of T-Mobile rider Tobias - Ed.)! I had no idea there were so many cycling fans in this country. It's almost convinced me to ride next year." Ullrich has raced in England just once, at the junior world championship in Cleveland in 1990. He said yesterday that he had "heard lots of good things" from T-Mobile riders competing in this year's Tour of Britain. The 31-year-old German also intimated yesterday that he would ride the 2007 Giro d'Italia after what, according to Ullrich, may be his last tilt at Tour de France glory next year. Ullrich said yesterday that he will probably retire at the end of the 2007 season.