The 53rd edition of the Vuelta a España was held 5 to 27 September 1998 and began in Córdoba and ended in Madrid. The 1998 Vuelta had 22 stages over 3,774 km with the winning average speed of 40.262 km/h. Spaniard Abraham Olano took the leader's jersey after the first individual time trial with 41 seconds over Frenchman Laurent Jalabert. Olano's lead in the mountains decreased each stage where teammate José María Jiménez marked Olano's rivals and took several stage wins in the process until Jiminez took the jersey from Olano on the final mountain stage to Alto de Navacerrada with Olano in third place at 38 seconds. On the following day's individual time trial, Olano took back the lead to win the only grand tour of his career.
The race also saw the comeback of Lance Armstrong after he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer in 1996. Armstrong's fourth-place finish was stripped by USADA in 2012 due to doping.