He is now 57 seconds behind Australian Rohan Dennis, who held on to the leader's pink jersey following the 202km stage from Catania to Caltagirone in Sicily.
Kiwi George Bennett has climbed 11 places in the general classification at the Giro d'Italia after a finishing stage four in 14th on Wednesday (NZ time).
Team Sky leader Froome finished 23 seconds behind Lotto rider Wellens as the race reached Italian soil yesterday following three stages in Israel.
Briton Chris Froome, bidding to become the third man to win all three grand tours two years running, said "I'm not anxious, I'm waiting for the Etna stage".
Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) placed fourth behind Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo), with the British rider crossing the finish line some four seconds ahead of Dennis to move to third in the overall standings. "Nevertheless, I managed to have a good result and take a small amount of time to some GC guys, so I think we can be happy with the ride today".
"It's been hectic with a lot of corners and a lot of public in the finale, " Dennis said. It's pretty common that I've lost the leader's jersey after one day in other Grand Tours.
An early breakaway featuring five riders - Enrico Barbin, Marco Frapporti, Jacopo Mosca, Maxim Belkov and Quentin Jauregui - established an advantage of three minutes before being caught by the main pack with 13 kilometres to go.
The Belgian has claimed one-day race wins such as the Montreal GP in 2015 and stage races including the Eneco Tour and the Tour of Poland.
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