The race was won by Garmin–Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer, after holding onto the leader's ochre jersey which came from a breakaway stage win on stage four. Meyer's winning margin over runner-up and fellow Australian Matthew Goss (HTC–Highroad) – winner of the first stage of the race – was just two seconds, the equal second smallest margin in the race's history. Team Sky's Ben Swift – a stage winner on the second and final stages – completed the podium, eight seconds down on Meyer.
In the race's other classifications, overall winner Meyer also guaranteed himself the black jersey for the highest placed rider under the age of 26, and Goss took home the blue jersey for amassing the highest number of points during stages at intermediate sprints and stage finishes. UniSA-Australia rider Luke Roberts won the King of the Mountains classification, with Movistar Team finishing at the head of the teams classification.
In the 2011 Tour Down Under, six different jerseys were awarded. For the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage, and allowing time bonuses for the first three finishers on each stage and in intermediate sprints, the leader received an ochre jersey. This classification was considered the most important of the Tour Down Under, and the winner was considered the winner of the Tour.
Additionally, there was a sprint classification, which awarded a blue jersey. In the sprint classification, cyclists earned points for finishing in the top three in a stage or intermediate sprint, with the top three finishers in the stage getting 8, 6, and 4 points respectively, and the top three in the intermediate sprints getting 6, 4, and 2.
There was also a mountains classification, which awarded a white jersey. In the mountains classifications, points were won by reaching the top of a mountain before other cyclists. Unlike most other cycling events, there was no categorization of climbs as each awards the same points (16, 12, 8, 6, and 4) to the first five riders past the summit.
The fourth jersey represented the young rider classification. This classification awarded a black jersey.
Due to UCI rules limiting the number of jersey awards to four, the above are the only jerseys awarded to riders which were then worn the next day during the stage. But there were two other jerseys. The first was the red jersey for the most aggressive rider. This award was comparable to the combativity award of the Tour de France. While the rider received a red jersey on the podium after the stage, he wore his normal jersey (unless holding one of the above four) in the next stage, with the aggressive rider award indicated by a red bib number.
The sixth and final jersey was for the teams classification. This jersey was not presented on the podiums daily, but it was awarded to the winning team at the end of the Tour. The teams classification was calculated by adding the times of each team's best four riders per stage per day. The jersey was blue.