I’ll let the picture do most of the talking. Look at the star rider of amateur team TEAG Team Köstritzer, the one given the seat in the middle and holding the bike. It’s André Greipel.
The photo is from 2004 and the 21 year old Greipel was the captain of the beer-sponsored squad and touted as its best prospect. Indeed it was his last year as an amateur before joining Team Wiesenhof. He was relegated to the end of the second row in their team photo but made a name for himself in the Tour of Denmark, scalping pros from bigger teams with a stage win.
Look carefully at the second row to spot another rider who has arguably done even better than Greipel, none other than world time trial champion Tony Martin. At the time he was national junior time trial champion.
In fact many of these riders kept progressing. Robert Wagner joined Wiesenhof with Greipel and is with Radioshack-Nissan today. Thomas Fothen and Sebastian Schwager made it to the pro ranks with the Milram team whilst Christian Müller went to CSC, Skil-Shimano, An Post and finally Amore e Vita.
In time the team changed name after the brewer dropped out to become the Thüringer Energie Team and it’s sent the likes of John Degenkolb, Patrick Gretsch and Marcel Kittel on their way too.