Shotcrete is concrete. PCA’s Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures, 16th Edition states: “In general, some reduction in strength at early ages (one to three days) accompanies the use of retarders. However, increased long-term strength may result from retarding the initial rate of hydration. Excessive addition rates of a retarding admixture may permanently inhibit the hydration of cement.” Thus, if you closely follow the admixture manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage, you may get higher long-term strength than non-retarded mixtures. You may also consider use of the newer hydration control admixtures that essentially stop hydration until activated, and can theoretically put the concrete “to sleep” for up to 3 days.